Design and history
The Brandenburg Gate consists of twelve Doric columns, six to each side, forming five passageways. Citizens originally were allowed to use only the outermost two. Atop the gate is the Quadriga, a chariot drawn by four horses driven by Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory.
The Gate's design is based upon the Propylaea, the gateway to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece and is consistent with Berlin's history of architectural classicism (first, Baroque, and then neo-Palladian). The Gate was the first "Athens on the River Spree" by architect Karl Gotthard von Langhans. The capital Quadriga was sculpted by Johann Gottfried Schadow.
The Brandenburg Gate's design has remained essentially unchanged since its completion even as it has played different political roles in German history. After the 1806 Prussian defeat at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, Napoleon took the Quadriga to Paris. After Napoleon's defeat in 1814 and the Prussian occupation of Paris by General Ernst von Pfuel, the Quadriga was restored to Berlin and Victoria's wreath of oak leaves was supplemented with a new symbol of Prussian power, the Iron Cross. The Quadriga faces east, as it did when it was originally installed in 1793.
When the Nazis ascended to power they used the Gate as a party symbol. The Gate survived World War II and was one of the few structures standing in the Pariser Platz ruins in 1945 (another being the Academy of Fine Arts). Following Germany's surrender and the end of the war, the governments of East Berlin and West Berlin restored it in a joint effort. Vehicles and pedestrians could again travel freely through the gate, until August 1961 when the Berlin Wall was erected. The wall and its fortified death strip ran just west of the gate, cutting off access from West Berlin and the "baby Wall" on the Eastern side rendered it off limits to East Berliners as well, until the wall's demolition in 1989.
In 1990, the Quadriga was removed from the gate as part of renovation work carried out by the East German authorities.
On December 21, 2000, the Brandenburg Gate was privately refurbished at a cost of six million dollars (U.S.).
On October 3, 2002, the twelfth anniversary of German Reunification, the Brandenburg Gate was once again reopened following extensive refurbishment.
The Brandenburg Gate is now again closed for vehicle traffic, and much of Pariser Platz has been turned into a cobblestone pedestrian zone.
Political history at the gate
Шаблон:Listen In 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate. The Soviets hung large red banners across it to prevent him looking into the East. In the 1980s, decrying the existence of two German states, West Berlin mayor Richard von Weizsäcker said: 'The German question is open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed.' .
On June 12, 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan spoke to the West Berlin populace at the Brandenburg Gate, demanding the razing of the Berlin Wall. Addressing CPSU General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, Reagan said, Шаблон:Cquote
When the Revolutions of 1989 occurred and the Berlin Wall collapsed, the Gate symbolized freedom and the desire to unify the city of Berlin. On December 22, 1989, the Brandenburg Gate re-opened when Helmut Kohl, the West German chancellor, walked through to be greeted by Hans Modrow, the East German prime minister.
On July 12, 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton spoke at the Gate about peace in post-Cold War Europe.
- Street map of the Brandenburg Gate's location (GlobalGuide)
- Berlin Wall
- Stiftung Denkmalschutz Berlin (Berlin Monument Conservation Foundation)
- Brandenburg Gate described in its historic context.
- Panorama Brandenburg Gate - Panoramic view from the Pariser Platz
- Webcam: Live-View of the Street "Unter den Linden" with Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany
- Ronald Reagan's Tear this Wall speech
- Complete text, audio and video of Ronald Reagan's Brandenburg Gate Addressfrom AmericanRhetoric.com
- Bill Clinton's Berlin is free speech
- Video News report of the Brandenburg Gate re-opening - Real Player needed
- Germany, Berlin, Brandenburger Tor Virtual tour with map and compass effect by Tolomeus
- Panorama Brandenburg Gate 1945 - Panoramic view into the past, 60 years after WWII